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Miami Dolphins

Dolphins rookie Minkah Fitzpatrick showing versatility already

Florida Football Insiders

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Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Since the Dolphins drafted Minkah Fitzpatrick back in April, everyone has been curious as to just how the number one pick out of Alabama’s defensive backfield would be used in Miami.

And while you can’t judge everything off of preseason, primarily because teams often are disguising what they really intend to do, there is already some indication on utilization of Fitzpatrick.

On a Thursday YouTube segment Pro Football Focus broke down of several different rookies so far this season including Fitzpatrick. They start discussing him around the 6:45 mark:

Most interestingly out of what they did is a breakdown of where Fitzpatrick lined up. Not surprisingly, most of the time (23 snaps) he was being used in the slot to cover inside receivers or tight ends in the first two games with the Bucs and the Panthers.

Fitzpatrick has made no secret since the time he was drafted, that the Dolphins had told him he was not a specific defensive backfield position, but rather “a football player.”

And without a doubt, having players like DB’s Bobby McCain and Tony Lippett as veterans gives defensive coordinator Matt Burke options on where to move Fitzpatrick around. As PFF points out, he’s also played the free safety position, roaming around for 11 plays in the first two games of the preseason.

And also, there is something to be said that the winning atmosphere that Fitzpatrick comes out of in Tuscaloosa is only going to help with his confidence and attitude as this 2018 season begins. After all, Fitzpatrick played in the College Football Playoff Championship Game in each of the last three seasons-winning twice.

That will give you confidence. No matter where you line up.

Miami Dolphins

Dolphins “limbo game” with QB Josh Rosen remains

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Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

The Dolphins continue to do their diligence on the possible drafting of a franchise type quarterback that they may be able to get their hands on in the upcoming in April. However, there remains a looming question with what to do with the former first-round pick QB that they acquired last April.

Josh Rosen remains, for now, part of the Dolphins plans, yet, even his biggest supporters have to concede ,that Rosen is likely “the odd man out” should Miami take one of the top quarterbacks in this year’s draft.

That’s because GM Chris Grier and coach Brian Flores are obviously committed to veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick. We know this because Fitzpatrick not only rallied the team for several wins down the stretch of the season, but that Miami has also gone and hired Fitzpatrick’s former offensive coordinator and head coach at two of his other stops, Chan Gailey for this season.

That’s not something that the Dolphins brass did lightly, and it foreshadows that Fitzpatrick will likely be the quarterback that they begin the regular season with, just as they did in 2019.

So, where exactly does that leave Rosen, who played very little last year, but has a salary cap friendly contract?

It likely means that he’s only “an insurance policy” that could be dropped at any point for very little salary cap ramifications.

We wrote near the end of last season that it did not make any sense that Miami wasn’t at least giving Rosen game action and some live reps in games last December, if only to see once and for all, if they could develop him into a quarterback for the future?

Obviously, the Dolphins spoke loudly with their actions, and by not even playing Rosen in any of the last seven games, they were indicating he’s expendable.

Dolphins beat writer for the Miami Herald Armando Salguero wrote Wednesday morning about Rosen situation, but shed very little light on what his actual future is. This is primarily because whether it’s Salguero, other media or anyone else not named Flores/Grier, they don’t know for sure what Rosen’s immediate, much less longer range, 2020 future is.

Sure, they could hang on to Rosen through the offseason and have him try to compete for playing time.

But, that seems to be a futile exercise if the Fins have already made up their mind that Fitzpatrick will start the year. And then, you’re drafting a rookie quarterback drafting a rookie quarterback, again to potentially be the future of the franchise.

Then again, Fitzpatrick is 37 years old and could break down physically along the way, well before the start of next season. So, keeping Rosen as that insurance policy along with the rookie Miami likely drafts, isn’t the worst idea.

However, for now, the 23 year old former UCLA star is in limbo.

And, for all we know, he could be cut to begin free agency coming up.

Certainly not giving Rosen a start in any of the last 11 games on an awful team is a clear indication that Grier and Flores didn’t believe in him. This after acquiring him and watching him all offseason, preseason and in the games that he did play.

We now await their next move with Rosen, and certainly, he does, too.

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Miami Dolphins

Stafford trade rumor reminder Dolphins better be ready to trade up

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Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

On Thursday morning a report surfaced that the Lions, who are currently slated to pick third in April’s NFL Draft, were actively looking to trade former Pro Bowl quarterback Matt Stafford. And, while that report has now been debunked, for teams like the Dolphins sitting in the fifth Spot, this is reminder of their reality of what could happen if someone jumps in front of them, in particular for a QB.

First, the report surfaced late Wednesday night from a local Detroit TV station that their sports reporter/anchor had learned that the Lions were looking for a trade partner for the 11-year veteran Stafford:

That report was quickly squashed by lions GM Bob Quinn and numerous NFL media reporters and salary cap experts pointed out that Stafford’s cap hit would be a massive $32 million dollars, if he is traded or released this season.

So it’s not likely, no matter how bad the situation is with the Lions, the Stafford is going anywhere.

But, that doesn’t mean that the Redskins, who are picking second and the Giants were picking 4th after the Lions and obviously both before the Dolphins at five, aren’t going to also be in the market to listen to trade offers for their picks.

This is, because Washington seems to be committed, for now with a new head coach and Ron Rivera, to last year’s first round quarterback pick, Dwayne Haskins

And likewise, the Giants have obviously made a commitment to their number one pick up last year, Daniel Jones. This after 2 time Super Bowl winning veteran quarterback Eli Manning announced his retirement, recently.

So, both NFC East teams appear to be targets, if a team (including the Dolphins) would look to try to increase their draft position.

This is in particular if that team were interested in the second best quarterback available in the draft, which is likely Alabama Tua Tagovailoa.

As was reported earlier this week, Tagovailoa is on schedule to heal from a fractured hip suffered last November in Alabama’s game with Mississippi State. While Tua won workout at the NFL combine later this month, it’s believed that he would likely work out for teams Alabama facility later in March or April.

One final factor in favor of the Dolphins and GM Chris Grier: they have some trade capital, including extra first-round pick this year and next year, with which the potentially move up if they so desire.

It’s all part of the evaluation process and then, the drama of what the teams at the top of the first round will look to do later this Spring.

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